Like the quilt her character Celie makes in the bestselling novel The Color Purple, Walker has created a patchwork verbal memento of the filming of her novel that will delight fans and movie buffs but is too self-absorbed to be of general interest. Hesitating both to record a personally painful time in her life and to try to answer those critics—especially blacks—who accused her of hating black men, Walker explains that she was finally able to write this book by freeing herself of the past, by "growing a new skin." And as she began assembling journal entries, letters from fans and critics, media commentary, and her own script—published here for the first time—she noticed how the experience of those years had changed her own understanding: "You really cannot step into the same river twice." She now understood why Steven Spielberg, the director, as a creative person, had not always been true to the book: For instance, in the movie, Celie was no longer a writer. Involved in the actual making of the movie, Walker fervently praises the stars, the script writer, and Spielberg, but what hurt her was black reaction to the film. She includes both positive and negative critiques as well as letters from admirers and opponents to indicate the range of emotions it provoked. Though the movie was nominated for but won no awards, Walker feels that the strengths The Color Purple celebrates will endure. Walker details here not only how the movie came to be made, but her own sufferings in that period: a debilitating bout of Lyme disease; the prolonged death of her mother; and the end of a long relationship. These travails she now sees as a series of "spiritual tests" that she needed to overcome before moving forward. More scrapbook than a solid volume, as the usual Walker themes appear only intermittently between clippings and movie memorabilia.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-684-81419-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1995

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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